MEMPHIS, Tenn. – If early reviews are any indication, next week’s U.S. Open will only add to the legend that Oakmont is the championship’s most demanding test.
According to the players who have made scouting trips to the Pittsburgh-area layout, the course is poised to be just as difficult as it was the last time it hosted the national championship in 2007, when Angel Cabrera won at 5 over par.
“Over par will win,” said Daniel Berger, who played Oakmont on Monday. “You have got to hit the fairway and the greens are fast. It’s a major championship test. I played the Open at Pinehurst and it’s nothing like that. You miss the fairway and you are screwed.”
Following the last two U.S. Opens, played at Pinehurst in 2014 and Chambers Bay last year, Oakmont is a more traditional test, with thick rough ringing narrow fairways and exceedingly fast greens.
Brooks Koepka, who will be one of next week’s favorites, made the trip to Oakmont on May 30 and echoed Berger’s comments.
“That rough is thick, you don’t want to be in it. You can’t find it even if you’re standing right next to it,” Koepka said on Tuesday at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. “It’s the first time we’ve had rough in two years. You have to think your way around that golf course.”
Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, who are also in the field this week in Memphis, made scouting trips to Oakmont this week, and Rory McIlroy was scheduled to spend some time there this week as well.